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I went to Bangor yesterday to drop my violin off at the violin hospital and to get Paul a haircut. I also ended up having a bonanza day in the Goodwill's book section, which was strangely crowded . . . a man with dreads buying homeschooling manuals, and a down-at-heels couple crowing over the plethora of available James Patterson novels, and a young mother in a posh suede coat scanning the nonfiction while the child in her shopping cart contentedly broke the wheels off a plastic truck. Fortunately none of them seemed to be hunting for these books:
* A first American edition of Ted Hughes's Selected Translations (2006), which covers an astonishing range of poets, from the anonymous voices of The Tibetan Book of the Dead through Euripides, Pushkin, Macedo, Racine, Ovid. . . . This book is definitely coming on the bus with me.
* A first edition of Jane Kenyon's Collected Poems (2005). Earlier this year I bought this same collection new, in paperbook. So if you are in need of a copy of Kenyon's poems, please let me know and I will mail it to you or perhaps hand it to you over a cup of coffee in Brooklyn.
* An early American edition of Kate O'Brien's The Last of Summer (1943). Kate O'Brien was an Irish novelist, not very well known, but an exquisite delineator of the tragic interplay between sexual desire and family or public duty, especially in a Catholic context. Her most famous books are That Lady (set in Philip II's Spain) and The Land of Spices (set in a Irish convent before World War I). I didn't even know this particular novel existed, so I am all of a flutter.
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Finally, I haven't heard from anyone about whether we should continue the Tu Fu reading project or shelve it again. Is there a consensus? I know all of you are busy with your quotidian lives, as am I, but I'm certainly willing to carve out space to continue this project . . . if I can be sure that others are also carving out space. While I'm happy to host the project and to toss out discussion starters, I'm not willing to be the major talker. My hope is that participants will respond to one another's comments rather than depend on me to do all of the segue work. If that doesn't seem possible right now, then I think we ought to sideline the project. But if a few of you can commit to responding in a timely manner to each other's comments about the readings, then I'm willing to keep going.